Ben Affleck opened up about his personal life in a two-hour interview with Howard Stern on Tuesday, touching on his divorce with Jennifer Garner, his struggles with sobriety, and his rekindled romance with Jennifer Lopez.
Most notably, Affleck had quite a bit to say about his divorce from Garner. The pair married in 2005 and divorced in 2018, but not before he and the “Alias” actress “tried and tried and tried” to save “a marriage that didn’t work” for the sake of their three kids, Affleck said.
“But both of us felt like we don’t want this to be the model that our kids see of a marriage,” Affleck said, adding that they would have been at each other’s throats had they stayed together.
“I’d probably still be drinking,” he told Stern. “Part of why I started drinking alcohol was because I was trapped. I was like, I can’t leave because of my kids, but I’m not happy. What do I do?”
Affleck has struggled with sobriety on and off over the years, and went to rehab for alcoholism in 2018. In the Stern interview, which aired on SiriusXM, the Oscar winner said his coping mechanism leading up to the divorce was to “drink a bottle of scotch and fall asleep on the couch, which turned out not to be the solution.”
He remembered the moment he noticed his drinking was affecting his kids: “It was the worst day of my life,” he said. He said he was lucky to reach rock bottom when he did, “before I lost the things that were most important. Not my money or career — always my relationship with my kids.”
Since then, Affleck said he has made amends and hasn’t “wanted to drink once.” He revealed it took him about a year and a half to get sober.
“The cure for addiction is suffering, you suffer enough, that something inside you goes, ‘I’m done,’” he said.
The “Argo” actor and director said his divorce with Garner was done amicably and with respect.
“We did our best. Did we have moments of tension? Did we have disagreements over custody? Was stuff difficult for us? Did we get angry? Yes. But fundamentally it was always underpinned with respect,” Affleck said.
Stern asked Affleck if there was hesitation getting back into a relationship with Lopez (the couple started dating again over the spring) to which Affleck said “it crossed [his] mind.”
“My responsibility to my children is the highest responsibility I have, so I’m not going to do anything that’s painful or destructive to them if I can help it,” the “Gone Girl” star said. “That being said, I know that my life affects them. Me and their mom are celebrities and that’s hard.”
Affleck added that during the breakup with Garner, the tabloids had it wrong and “printed horrible lies.”
In the wake of Affleck’s controversial comments, many took to Twitter to express disdain for what they felt came across as Affleck placing blame on Garner for his alcoholism.
“Ben Affleck needs to call his sponsor. If this is what taking responsibility for his actions looks like in his head? He needs to rework those steps. And I hope other Jennifer takes note of how he treats people who help him, as Jennifer Garner helped him to rehab 3″ times, one user said.
Ben Affleck needs to call his sponsor. If this is what taking responsibility for his actions looks like in his head? He needs to rework those steps. And I hope other Jennifer takes note of how he treats people who help him, as Jennifer Garner helped him to rehab 3 goddamn times. https://t.co/QHDSPKdYBO— Brook (@brook_podjunkie) December 15, 2021
“The more Ben Affleck talks, the more it seems like Jennifer Garner was a saint to put up with him,” another tweet said.
“Does Ben Affleck blame Jennifer Garner for this hideous back tattoo as well?” another quipped.